Charity launches new social enterprise

Flexible childcare

Becky Duncan / Open Aye

One Parent Families Scotland has supported its flexible childcare service to become a separate non-profit childcare company 

18th February 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has launched a dedicated social enterprise which aims to offer better childcare in Scotland.

One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) has supported its flexible childcare service to become a separate non-profit childcare company after 21 years of development

A new social enterprise, Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS), has been launched this year to deliver services in Dundee, Aberdeenshire, Inverness and eventually across Scotland.

National charity OPFS, which supports single parents and their children, began testing its model of flexible childcare 21 years ago. It established services in order to fill a gap in high-quality, flexible, accessible and affordable childcare which worked for the single parents it supported. However, the model has proven effective in supporting all families – whatever their make-up – who are juggling the demands of work and home, and allowing parents to progress in work or undertake further education or training.

These services have proven highly successful, according to the charity, and led to a decision to split them off into a new organisation. Flexible Childcare Services Scotland registered as a social enterprise last summer and the two organisations were formally separated this year.

One Parent Families Scotland will continue to work closely with FCSS and support its continuing development. OPFS director Satwat Rehman has said she is delighted to see the childcare service take flight on its own after years of development.

Rehman said: “At a time of considerable investment in early learning and childcare, we are pleased that the flexible childcare services we have established will be part of these new developments, providing vital support for so many children and families. 

“Testing a new model is never without challenges, but we have had strong support from funders and policy makers at STV Children’s Appeal, The Hunter Foundation, Scottish Government and local authorities, which has enabled us to get to the point where we feel confident in helping establish a new Scottish charitable incorporated organisation (SCIO) to lead the roll-out of high quality flexible childcare across Scotland.”

The new company has already started with an expansion, as the Direct Childcare company based in Inverness has merged with FCSS.

FCSS director Susan McGhee said: “Flexible, accessible and affordable childcare is key to removing barriers to education, training and employment for families across Scotland. Traditional childcare models are rigid with set session times and set costs, yet times are changing, and families need services that reflect their working hours and individual needs.

“Delivered alongside the Scottish Government’s impressive expansion plans for early learning and childcare, this innovative flexible delivery model creates real transformative change for children, families and communities.

“We are delighted to be taking forward the pioneering model developed by One Parent Families Scotland and look forward to seeing its growth through expansion of our own services and through its implementation by other providers across Scotland.”

More information can be found on the Flexible Childcare Services Scotland website.